Friday, February 26, 2010

Here comes papa

Above, hourly position of the Nathaniel B Palmer for the last 3 days. Here they come! Martin should be back within the week.

And this is where they have been since they left:

All of that accessible via this link that shows the latest position of the Nathaniel B. Palmer.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Looking forward and looking back

Looking forward:

Looking back:

(Today, enjoying the warm AND sunny weather on the Tanana. A lot of people did the same, parking lot was full at the "campground".)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lower Angel Creek cabin

This weekend, Dorte and BJ very very kindly invited us to Lower Angel Creek cabin with them. After flip-flopping on them because I thought it was a bit cool, I decided it would be great to join them on Friday evening, after temperatures warmed to above zero.

We met the next day at the start of the Yukon Quest, then went to the trailhead. Temperatures around almost 15. The cabin itself is some 3 miles away from road. The trail is pretty flat and relatively wide, and was in excellent condition given the very low snow year. However, there were the typical bumps from snowmachines along the trail, every 3 to 6 yards or so a hump, which made it more difficult for Sonja. On the way back, she complained that she was shaken through and through.

Sonja was on her dogsled, which was loaded up with a duffle bag with our sleeping bags and pads; and Emilie was in the chariot. I had a backpack with the rest of our gear. Dorte and BJ carried (again, very kindly) some common gear such as cook stoves and toys. After trying out various combinations (such as one dog pulling Sonja and the other dog pulling me), with Sonja we settled on "the train" method - Saphira running loose up front (otherwise we were too fast for Sonja), Cooper on the line, hooked up to me (on skis), behind me the chariot, behind it an empty sled in case Sonja couldn't have the bag with sleeping bags on her sled, and then Sonja on her sled. Sonja did great.

On arrival to the cabin, we got treated to some nice colors of the sunset just as the dogs were eating their dinner (Thai is there too, at sixteen probably the oldest dog to make it there on his own power). It was cloudy the whole weekend, which was good, since it meant warmer temperatures. Sunday the temperature dropped a bit and was just above 0.

The cabin sleeps six: there are two lower bunks that sleep two, and two upper bunks that sleep one. Dorte did a great job translating books on the spot. The kids had a very fun evening playing with each other.

Sunday, almost ready to head back out to the car. Back half of "the train".

BJ skied in his mukluks (!), his skis with the bindings that take the mukluks are in front. Bolto is such a cuddle dog.

Overall, Lower Angel Creek cabin seems to be a great place to take kids - it is 3 miles out, so not right on the road but relatively close, doable within an hour or two (depending on how many pee stops you have to make :). The trail is flat, so no big uphills or downhills. And it does feel like an adventure to get out there.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


With the very low snow year so far this year in Fairbanks, I have been limiting myself to skijoring either out of our house (on a flat road, then a flat trail) or Creamer's field. The other day I tried the dogmusher's trails out of Creamer's field, but vowed to not go back until we get more snow, since several times I thought I was going to break my skis on big tussocks. No wonder all of the dogmushing races out of the Dogmusher's hall have been canceled so far this season due to lack of snow.

One of these days, I will make it to the river.

But even out of our house, it is not a bad little ski. At the end, there is a view of a dredge. And in the bright sunshine these days, it can be very beautiful.

I had Saphira hooked up all the way to the dredge viewpoint, so when I switched her for Cooper, she was very happy and on the way back, she elected to stay way ahead of us just to make sure that she didn't have to work any more. I love the view of the frosted hillside behind her.

The dredge is located on this pond here, but surprisingly it does not show on the satellite image that is currently on google maps: the dredge visible in that picture is I think the second one that is off the left side in this image:

The case of the missing dredge... Those things are big, and I would have thought difficult to hide.

And, in case I am wondering in a few years how I dressed for these short 1h skis with the dogs (temp around -10F this afternoon in this location):

On the head, a very ugly but warm and windproof hat with earflaps, and a neckgator over the cheeks. On the body, long sleeve shirt and a sweater, with a windbreaker over the top. On the legs, tights with a windproof layer over them. On the feet, warm socks in the boots, and boot warmers over the boots. And on hands, mitts.